Archive for November 16th, 2013

Rousseau in 90 Minutes

If you are looking more for a brief biographical sketch of the philosopher Roussea this book would serve this purpose. I read this book for this primary purpose, to understand the life and his time that drove his philosophy. Like other books in this series, the author does not go in-depth with Rousseau’s ideas and left me hungry wanting to know more of his thought. In terms of his life, Roussea was quite a character, and rampantly promiscuous even at an early age. From the author’s narrative and quotations from Roussea, one learns that he was rather bizarre and quite egotistical. I will never forget my father in law reading to me the first paragraph of Rousseau’s autobiography: “I have entered upon a performance which is without example, whose accomplishment will have no imitator. I mean to present my fellow-mortals with a man in all the integrity of nature; and this man shall be myself.” While the book didn’t develop the point as much as I would like it to, the book did note the inconsistency of Roussea being anti-elite, who was critical in blaming man’s problem on civilization and society while he himself was praised and welcomed in the courts of the elites of French society. One may say that Roussea was a microcosm of the French Revolution that followed.

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